Rounding square pegs. That, in a nutshell, is the message being delivered by the Royal Society and 104 other national science academies, to delegates of the Rio+20 Earth Summit if mankind is to get through the 21st century.
Rounding square pegs means two things - reducing overpopulation and over-consumption. Overpopulation is primarily the obligation of the emerging and developing nations, particularly China, India and the burgeoning African states. Over-consumption falls mainly to the developed nations, the voracious consumers of the lion's share of just about everything.
We know what curbing overpopulation means. Overpopulated countries must trim their numbers, preferably by curbing reproductive rates. Over-consumption, now that's far trickier. What it means is rich folks buying less, consuming less, using less, wasting less and redistributing some of what they've come to expect as theirs to the have-nots.
Yeah, that's right. This is the great "socialist plot" to redistribute wealth from those who believe they've "earned" it to those who they believe haven't.
Good luck with that.